Basic Law on Quality Education: No Child Left Behind

Introduction

Amidst many criticisms and negative comments from the various stakeholders, NCLB, enacted during the Bush administration, is now being implemented by the Obama administration which had increased federal funding for NCLB functions to states and their districts. This act has been considered by Congress and the U.S. Department of Education as reauthorization of a basic law known as the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act” (ESEA) which was enacted during the Johnson administration to provide federal funding for the K-12 education program. One of then-President Johnson’s agendas was his fight against poverty and providing quality education was regarded as an effective tool by policymakers for this kind of war.

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The NCLB principles are not new. Accountability, standards, and assessments were parts of basic frameworks for education laws, particularly the ESEA. States promulgated their accountability policies even before NCLB. This particular scenario provided grounds for attacks by critics of NCLB. The act aims to erase discrimination in providing high-quality education to all Americans regardless of their status in life. How noble the aims of the law might be, critics never lose comments to present its imperfection. One of these so-called imperfections is the neoliberal argument, i.e. the act is in parallel with neoliberal ideas of the law’s proponents in Congress. It is a fight against the conservatives and the liberals. According to legislators, neoliberal policies allow federal intervention on education policies and will improve the academic performance of students (Hursh, 2007). Neoliberalism goes for aggressiveness and liberalism in this age of intense globalization, where businesses ignore borders. Education must be globalized. Is NCLB a tool for globalization hiding under the guise of quality education?

Commentators have criticized that education policies were used to be the responsibility of the states and local government. With neoliberalism, the federal government takes over education policies. More controversies are coming up about NCLB, from accountability to ethical issues. The Obama administration is motivated on implementing NCLB by increasing federal funding for its functions. 2014 is the date set for the completion of AYP reports but there are dark sides on the horizon.

Unresolved issues are surrounding the implementation of the act. The stakeholders, particularly the administrators, teachers, students, and their families, have aired their comments against the act. However, education officials under the Obama administration have argued that the act has attained positive gains in the implementation as this has improved the quality of education.

Research suggests that NCLB has been problematic because of the circumstances surrounding the legislation and the unclear principles of standardized testing and accountability.

Annotated bibliography

Torres, M. (2004). The best interest of the students left behind? Exploring the ethical and legal dimensions of United States federal involvement in public school improvement. Journal of Educational Administration, 42(2), 249-269. Web.

Summary – This source investigates the ethical implications in the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. It analyzes the NCLB’s effects on political, social, and demographic forces. State’s administrative control over public schools has been replaced by federal government oversight with NCLB implementation. The author stresses the civil rights of students as embodied in the act that should be safeguarded not only on paper.

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Credibility – Written by a distinguished professor of Texas A&M University, the source was published by the Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Quality – The article is rich with ethical and legal statements needed for the enactment of the act. It provides stakeholder comments and feedback and their lack of consensus in interpreting NCLB.

Relevance – This source aims to motivate an understanding among practitioners, policymakers, parents, students, and all the other important stakeholders, of the moral goals and ends of education and how this affects the implementation of NCLB.

Murnane, R. & Papay, J. (2010). Teachers’ views on No Child Left Behind: Support for the principles, concerns about the practices. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3), 151-166. Web.

Summary – The source discusses the reactions and views of teachers on three aspects of the act: 1.) testing prerequisites and the conditions providing “Adequate Yearly Progress”; 2.) penalties for educational institutions for failing AYP, and 3.) qualification of teachers who teach important academic subjects. Expert educators commented that the accountability principle should set standards for what teachers should teach and what students should expect to learn.

Credibility – Professor Richard Murnane’s background as an economist and professor is sought by education policymakers while Doctor John Papay’s opinion is as important in the academic world. The source is from the Emerald Publishing Group.

Quality – The article cites national surveys on NCLB in the states of California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania and analyzes the findings on teachers’ views about the Act.

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Relevance – This relates to the NCLB testing, accountability, and sanctions for schools and districts and reactions of the teachers who have a significant role in its implementation.

Shirvani, H. (2009). Does the No Child Left Behind Act leave some children behind? The International Journal of Learning, 16(3), 49-57. Web.

Summary – The source provides background on the enactment of the act. NCLB addresses the need for quality teachers and closes the gaps between English language learners and white students. It cites a study that found that NCLB could decrease the quality of teachers who teach lower-achieving students. An unqualified teacher could transfer to another school but might be replaced by another less qualified one.

Credibility – Hosin Shirvani has written several books on education but the article on NCLB is an eye-opener and provides a challenge to policymakers and framers of the law. His article was published by commongroundpublishing.com which publishes the International Journal of Learning.

Quality – This source is rich in information about the NCLB implementation and describes how students hurdle national examinations and recommend strategies to attain high scores.

Relevance – This is relevant to understanding NCLB’s goals and how all students can reach proficiency in the targeted subjects by 2014.

Neal, D. (2010). Aiming for efficiency rather than proficiency. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(3), 119-132. Web.

Summary – The source analyzes the intervention of the federal government on education through funding. The authors of NCLB believed that school districts and administrators were not effectively doing their job in monitoring school and student performance. Education officials should implement their state-level policy and not the one coming from the federal government. The source states that the act provides ways for state officials to manipulate assessments to show that the schools were having greater proficiency. This type of manipulation is costly and difficult to detect.

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Credibility – Professor Derek Neal teaches at the University of Chicago and is also involved in research at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The article was published by Emerald Publishing Group.

Quality – Literature was provided with quality sources as it differentiates proficiency standards implemented between state-level and NCLB accountability.

Relevance – This is important for a possible amendment of NCLB. Arguments are carefully studied and can be introduced in congress.

Kaufman, A. & Blewett, E. (2012). When good enough is no longer good enough: How the high stakes nature of the No Child Left Behind Act supplanted the Rowley definition of a free appropriate public education. Journal of Law & Education, 41(1), 5-23. Web.

Summary – This article discusses the law benefiting students with disabilities and their “free assistance and personalized education,” as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court for petitioner Rowley. Schools are required to provide “enough good education” but not to maximize a disabled student’s educational performance. The state courts maintained the Rowley decision as ruled by the Supreme Court. Some major courts were divided on this decision but the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling has prevailed.

Credibility – This article, written by a distinguished Harvard University graduate, Andrea Kayne Kaufman, and Evan Blewett of DePaul University College of Law, describes the Rowley Court decision and the NCLB provisions on academic performance and accountability. This comes from the Emerald Publishing Group.

Quality – The authors provide valid arguments supporting the Rowley case and other state court decisions.

Relevance – This is relevant to the interpretation of the law concerning providing education for students with disabilities who deserve ‘enough good education’.

Hursh, D. (2007). Assessing No Child Left Behind and the rise of neoliberal education policies. American Educational Research Journal, 44(3), 493-518. Web.

Summary – The article provides a backgrounder on NCLB, particularly on the support of politicians and government people on neoliberal policies which must be applied in this age of intense globalization and businesses crossing borders. Neoliberals in Congress argued that federal intervention on education policies can improve school accountability and academic performance of students. The source also discusses the politics of curriculum and the effects of ‘high-stakes testing on teaching and learning’. Hursh (2007) says that NCLB failed the expectations of policymakers and for what it should have attained.

Credibility – Professor David Hursh has several publications focusing on policies and defects in education programs. This is another quality article from the Emerald Publishing Group.

Quality – The article provided a critique of NCLB and expert comments on neoliberalism and deliberative democracy.

Relevance – This is relevant to analyzing whether NCLB is a success. NCLB should improve education for minority students and the disabled, and provide for student excellence.

Cawthon, S. (2007). Hidden benefits and unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind policies for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. American Educational Research Journal, 44(3), 460-492. Web.

Summary – NCLB accountability and proficiency focus on students with disabilities and under this category are students who are deaf or hard of hearing (SDHH). There are differences in the assessment results for students with disabilities and students without. According to studies, the achievement gaps between students with disabilities and those without at the fourth-grade level registered at 25% to 50%. Government analysis has portrayed that the proficiency gaps have been closed since the implementation of NCLB (Center on Education Policy, 2007 as cited in Cawthon, 2007, p. 461).

Credibility – A professor from the University of Texas at Austin, Stephanie Cawthon specializes in educational policy about students with disabilities. This source comes from the American Educational Research Journal.

Quality – Cawthon analyzes NCLB’s conceptual components and the proficiency gaps between students with disabilities and those without.

Relevance – This provides a thorough analysis of NCLB and its impact on students with disabilities.

Hoerandner, C. & Lemke, R. (2006). Can No Child Leave Behind close the gaps in pass rates on standardized tests? Contemporary Economic Policy, 24(1), 1-17. Web.

Summary – This article analyzes how worst-performing schools can improve assessment results and narrow the gap by eliminating inefficiencies and follow the example set by better-performing schools. The authors conducted a quantitative and qualitative analysis and provided a table on the decomposition of ISAT Pass Rates in math by test group. They found that the uncontrollable factors were large.

Credibility – Both authors teach at Lake Forest College Illinois and specialize in educational and economic policies. This is a publication from the Western Economic Association International.

Quality – The authors provided calculations in concluding: that even if schools increase funding to match the level spent by better-performing schools, the gap is just modestly narrowed at 25%.

Relevance – This is a scientific analysis using regression on NCLB’s efficiency in closing the gaps of standardized tests. The survey proved that the gap can be narrowed by at most 25% for students with disabilities and low-income students.

Imazeki, J. & Reschovsky, A. (2004). Is No Child Left Behind a un (or under) funded federal mandate? Evidence from Texas. National Tax Journal, 57(3), 571-588. Web.

Summary – One of the controversial issues on NCLB implementation is the inability of the federal government to provide enough funds for NCLB’s functions. A detailed cost testing was carried out in the state of Texas which is a model for academic performance measures. Through analysis of the Texas accountability system and state funds allocated for education, the authors concluded that federal funds were not enough to cover the various functions provided for the NCLB implementation.

Credibility – Both authors teach economics and have an effective way of estimating the cost of the NCLB functions. This is an important article from the Emerald Publishing Group.

Quality – The Texas system scores student performance in “reading, writing, and math” including a science subject. This source provides a statistical method in the estimation of funds to school districts.

Relevance – This is relevant in determining whether NCLB needs more funds to cover the costs of implementing the functions of the law.

Smith, E. & Gorard, S. (2007). Improving teacher quality: Lessons from America’s No Child Left Behind. Cambridge Journal of Education, 37(2), 191-206. Web.

Summary – This article expresses the view that NCLB, a project of the Bush administration to provide quality education, is the most influential education reform in the twenty-first century. The government provides funding through Title I but to improve accountability measures for America’s public schools. Public school teachers have to improve their performance. NCLB is like an indictment to the American public school system as it provides mediocre education to American children.

Credibility – Both authors teach at the University of York. This publication is quality work from the Taylor & Francis Group Publications.

Quality – Literature was drawn from the expert opinion of authors although there was no empirical study conducted by the authors. The article provides a thorough analysis of the issues raised by the Bush administration and the implementation of educational programs.

Relevance – This source has relevance to historical facts about NCLB enactment and some data about NCLB gains.

Dee, T. & Jacob, B. (2010). Evaluating NCLB. Web.

Summary – A report for the Department of Education study determined positive trends for the different subgroups. Student achievements for reading and math improved in many states after NCLB. However, there were some disparities in the NAEP and NCLB scores. State officials argued that NCLB copied their states’ accountability policies. The study compared results of NAEP and NCLB and concluded that NCLB increased student achievement, particularly the higher-achieving ones.

Credibility – Both authors are education professors and have several publications on NCLB. This present study is an Education Next publication.

Quality – The source provides a statistical and scientific explanation of the results of NAEP compared to NCLB results. The authors took samples from 4th to 8th grades from the different states. This is demonstrated in Appendix 1.

Relevance – This provides an analysis of the results of NCLB accountability. The article cites positive gains in math for several subgroups, particularly Hispanic and black students.

Polikoff, M. (2012). Instructional alignment under No Child Left Behind. American Journal of Education, 118(3), 341-368. Web.

Summary – The standards provided in the NCLB were based on the principle of standards-based reform of the K-12 program, i.e. if teachers aligned their instructions with the standards, students will have quality education. NCLB seeks to improve teachers’ instructions by using accountability with federal funding and penalty. The discussion here was based on surveys on teachers’ reactions to the standards and assessments. The teachers responded but whether they improved was still a question.

Credibility – Professor Polikoff teaches educational policies at the University of Southern California and has an authoritative opinion on NCLB. This is a relevant journal from the University of Chicago Press.

Quality – The author used qualitative data on teachers’ instruction and provided an evaluation of the instructions in the context of the NCLB’s standards and assessments.

Relevance – This is important in the discussion about standards and assessments wherein teachers’ must align their instructions based on the standards set in the NCLB.

Thesis Statement

Research suggests that NCLB has been problematic because of the circumstances surrounding the legislation and the unclear principles of standardized testing and accountability.

NCLB aims to improve teacher quality and student proficiency in important subjects, like English proficiency, Science, and Math. Were the interests of teachers and students really in the mind of the legislators when they formulated the bill to become another intervention of the federal government on education policies? Commentators posit that this is a part of neo-liberalism advocated by legislators, or a part of the change in social policies. State officials also criticized NCLB, stating that their pre-NCLB policies and NCLB had similar principles and that since 2003 NCLB has not acquired gains for the different subgroups.

Social policies

“No child left behind” is part of the change in social policies. When NCLB was laid by Democrats in Congress before President George H. Bush’s election, it was to lay the groundwork for neoliberalism, which emphasizes “deregulation, trade liberalization, the dismantling of the public sector (including education, health, and social welfare), and the predominance of the financial sector of the economy overproduction and commerce” (Tabb, 2002 as cited in Hursh, 2007, p. 95).

According to Torres (2004), the NCLB lacked ethical dimensions in the legislation, the reason why there is a lack of agreement among the various stakeholders. The role of politics and politicians must be questioned. Conservatives and liberals were having a grand debate. For one thing, conservatives preferred that state and local initiatives should prevail over the federal government in instituting education policies; but liberals wanted that the federal government should dictate solutions over problems of states and school systems. In short, the framing of the law ignored moral dimensions as politicians were concerned about their political interests and conflicting sets of values (Bauer, 1968 as cited in Torres, 2004, p. 251). Many neoliberals support standardized testing because they said that it would increase educational opportunity and ensure greater assessment objectivity that teachers provide (NCLB 2002, Page & Jackson, 2004; U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Press Secretary, 2006 as cited in Hursh, 2007, p. 494).

Neoliberalism states that if markets do not exist in different components of human activities, particularly education, they must be created by the state through policies. This must be so especially in this age of globalization which, in this context, is related to neoliberal ideas. Neoliberals want efficiency and educational efficiency is necessary since we are in a globalized world where goods and services have no borders. The Bush administration was promoting neoliberalism. The neoliberals seemed to promote that since we are amid globalization, we have no alternative but to accept neoliberalism. One of the outcomes of those ideas is NCLB. (Torres, 2004)

Educational policymaking became a significant goal of both houses of Congress, including the Education Department and other stakeholders of NCLB. Title I of the Act became a subject of hot debate on how it should be used to support neoliberalism in the guise of helping students of poor families and the other subgroups mentioned in the NCLB. For the fiscal year 2012, the Obama administration provided federal funding of $14.5 billion for the functions of NCLB (Federal education budget project: No Child Left Behind – overview, 2013, para. 14).

Why do they insist on neoliberal policies? Neoliberalism is about intervention, threatening people’s liberty by way of taxes, and more regulations. To critics of NCLB, particularly state and local officials, neoliberalism is NCLB in the making. State officials complained that pre-NCLB and NCLB gains have similarities and that the federal government only wanted to control state education policies.

Social scientists, economists, politicians, and educators have proposed that in our world now something which changes our principle and the social fabric of Western societies is going on. The modern system is characterized by the commodification of natural resources, human relations, labor, and knowledge or education. Citizens and students have been transformed into alienated tools of a globalized economy. International institutions are ruling our activities, such as the U.N., the World Bank, and OECD. Josh Meyer (2005 as cited in Hopmann, 2008) and other neoinstitutionalists have spoken about globalization and defined the growth of international “institutions” and the emerging “world polity which supersedes national histories and policies” (Hopmann, 2008, p. 419). According to Giddens (as cited in Hopmann, 2008), this change is global.

Standards and assessments

NCLB is based on a framework that is about standards, assessments, and rewards. It aims to motivate schools and teachers to improve instruction through these tools. Standards refer to the knowledge and skills that students must learn and possess and are subject to evaluation. A theory that NCLB proposes is that schools and teachers can improve instruction in important subjects like Mathematics, English, and Science. The formation of subgroups stipulated in the act is a tool provided to make easy and systematic reporting for student proficiency that should be contained in the AYP. In the 1990s, setting standards was already used to attain proficiency particularly in kindergarten up to grade 12. A larger accountability framework is introduced in the NCLB. Schools should have clear standards so that the government can see how students have improved in the implementation process. Assessments refer to determining student proficiency and achievement which can vary in different states. NCLB mandates that student proficiency should be embodied in the AYP and that states should be transparent about it.

The K-12 program has been guided by the standards-based reform (SBR), which is one of the reasons why some state officials maligned the aims of NCLB because K-12 has already this guiding policy. Teachers have to align their teaching methods with prescribed “standards and assessments” (Polikoff, 2012, p. 341). NCLB is based on this guiding policy and complements SBR. What NCLB adds to SBR is the accountability of schools and districts using federal funding as rewards, or sanctions if student proficiency has not improved. Since SBR was implemented in kindergarten up to grade 12, there have been many studies conducted on its effects on student proficiency. These studies found that standards motivated teachers to improve or align their teaching contents and methods. This eventually resulted in the improvement of students’ performance. (Polikoff, 2012, p. 343)

NCLB aims for the interest of students, including those with disabilities, and eliminates racial disparities and discrimination against economically disadvantaged students. In short, it aims to provide high-quality education for all Americans. The first point of contention relates to the concept of NCLB and why this was an important agendum of the Bush administration’s education reform. The aims were for quality education as Americans had lagged behind other students from even poor countries when it came to English proficiency and math subjects. These realities about American youth and the quality of education they had obtained were all embodied in the introductory summary of the NCLB Act. (No Child Left Behind, n.d., p. 1)

The background for the enactment of NCLB is rich with good intentions, although this is a reauthorization of a law made during the Johnson administration in 1965 to fight poverty. Some of the provisions were copied from the Texas model of accountability but, as a whole, the act itself will provide a high-quality education for the American students, if implemented correctly. But that remains to be seen. Though the Bush administration was aiming for results in the short run, the Obama administration is also doing it and they may be running out of time.

Accountability

Another point of contention is accountability. Schools face sanctions and penalties if conditions for student performance and teacher quality are not met. The accountability principle in NCLB is the requirement for schools to submit “adequate yearly progress” for students’ proficiency. Before NCLB, the state was responsible for defining and determining the AYP as a basis for federal funding. Many states had their accountability framework which had been implemented before NCLB.

NCLB provides continuous evaluation of schools, districts, and teachers, and their performances are evaluated through their outputs, i.e. students’ proficiency in core subjects like Math, English, and Science. They have to provide AYP reports until all the students (100%) under their supervision and tutoring have attained proficiency or passed the testing requirements. NCLB provides that schools and districts are accountable for teacher qualification and that they must have the necessary certification from authorities concerned. Teacher qualifications must be of prime importance before they can teach special subjects like Math and English. Districts developing strategies for effective AYP are rewarded federal funding and those with poor performance are penalized. NCLB may need amendment concerning improving teacher quality which can be enhanced through professional development programs like training and continuous learning. Teachers should have long-term relationships with their students as a motivational factor to enhance learning (Li, n.d., p. 3). The requirement for teacher certification must be strictly enforced at all levels and in all schools and districts.

Negative comments for the accountability principle of the act have come out including ethical dimensions. First, NCLB addresses the problem of equal education for all including poor students. The act provides that students can transfer to another school of their choice if they have not improved for two years. This is good if it is correctly implemented. But as Neal (2010) indicated, the act provides ways for state officials to manipulate assessments to show that the schools are having greater proficiency. Neal (2010) said that it is difficult and costly for the government to detect this manipulation. However, assessment and accountability must have one common denominator and this is transparency. States should be able to design policies and AYP wherein the federal government through the Department of Education can track the progress of student outputs. By having 100% proficiency for all students in a district in a matter of eight years, the tracking of the achievement gap takes a long time.

The participation of disabled students in assessment is a big challenge for them. NCLB should provide a mechanism to help them, as instead of helping them, more barriers might be created in the assessment process; for example, the paper-and-pencil testing format. Accommodations have already been introduced to give them ease in the assessment process. An example is the Braille version of the assessment which allows the blind students to “read” the assessment. The accommodation removes the barrier of the student’s inability to see. Some accommodations allow the use of interpreters who may read aloud the test items. But sometimes accommodations can change the presentation and thus jeopardize the validity of the assessment. High-stakes testing is still difficult for students with disabilities and this provides them a hindrance to acquiring education. Test questions are the same for students with disabilities and those without. (Cawthon, 2007)

In the Rowley case, minority courts ruled that states should provide “meaningful educational benefit,” i.e. education for students with disabilities and children of poor families. Some majority courts maintained the Rowley standards that it is not for the state to maximize educational performance but must only give “some educational benefit” to students with disabilities (Kaufman & Blewett, 2012, p. 7). Now, how can educational benefit be available to them if they are “forced” to answer high-stakes questions?

Teacher quality

NCLB is right in targeting quality education as its primary aim. Yet, teachers and administrators are not all agreeable. Indeed, quality education cannot be achieved with unqualified teachers. This is just like having a workforce in business: laborers with no adequate training will produce poor-quality products. In the studies before and during the enactment of NCLB, it was found that America lacked certified teachers to teach core subjects, like math, English proficiency, and science (Smith & Gorard, 2007, p. 191). This can be a fact and the law is harsh about it. If teachers are not qualified, why should they teach? Will parents entrust their children to teachers who do not know what they are teaching about?

Some commentators suggest that this is an indictment on the entire public school system of the United States. The teachers received the most negative comments. NCLB backgrounder stated that many were teaching subjects not their specialty; thus, they were not qualified to teach. English, mathematics, and science must be taught by teachers with special qualifications and must be certified by the state. Mediocrity became a significant variable. Indeed, some states had a minimum of 38% of teachers who were not qualified to teach. Some states had no adequate student proficiency testing; for example, students who scored below the median score were allowed to pass (Smith & Gorard, 2007, p. 192).

The contention that teachers were teaching mediocrity must itself be questioned. Why? Teachers could not be faulted as they have rich knowledge about what they are teaching. They know how to implement strategies in the face of the fight against low-quality education. If they must have long-term relationships with their students, then that must have been attained. Teachers complained of this mediocrity allegation. Meyer (2013) indicated that teachers are trapped by this federal legislation (the NCLB) and so-called “policy-mandated malpractice” which is a commitment by Congress and the federal government. When we speak of policies, we mean neoliberal policies of Congress which is the subject of contention of Point 3.

State officials have said that NCLB gains are not real gains but are attributed to NAEP achievement. Some studies found some gains in math and reading. The study of Dee and Jacob (2010) found mixed results for 4th and 8th graders and there were signs of reading effects of NCLB in all grade samples. This is in contrast to the findings of Hollingsworth and Gallego (2007) who found that NCLB testing requirements are so high that there has been reported high drop-out among subgroups like African Americans and Latinos in urban school districts (Editorial Projects in Education, 2006 as cited in Hollingsworth & Gallego, 2007, p. 454). However, nine to thirteen states reported that results for standardized tests had increased. The report of Dee and Jacob (2010) in their evaluation stated that NCLB had improved student achievement in 4th-grade math and subgroups like Hispanic and black students. The study compared results of NAEP and NCLB and concluded that NCLB increased student achievement, particularly the higher-achieving ones.

Students with disabilities showed no signs of improvement in their proficiency rates. For students who are deaf or hard of hearing, they had a very low performance during an assessment conducted in 2005 in which 15 states made their NCLB reports. Some reports were inconclusive which tells us that more studies and surveys are required that can provide conclusive evidence on the positive gains of NCLB. Before that, we can only surmise that the critiques and comments have to be given credence and due studies so that supplements of the act or amendments can be introduced in Congress. (Cawthon, 2007)

Many legal and ethical dimensions have come up after the enactment and during its implementations. Some states are considering filing a suit arguing that the federal government is intervening in state affairs. According to Henry (2004), private citizens should have the right of action with regards to the NCLB implementation as schools are not responding to the accountability principle espoused by the Act. This is a statutory obligation for the school districts and if they are not responding to their mandate, they have to answer for it legally. The beneficiaries of NCLB, the students, and the subgroups including the parents, can go straight to court for litigation. There is no NCLB provision for this. Stakeholders have voiced out that all this has to be settled before it becomes a never-ending controversy in American education.

There have been little efforts to unite the views of the various stakeholders as this is a challenging job for policymakers and the federal government. Different views have come up and increasingly polarized; opinions are coming from the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers. This shows how different sectors have disagreed on NCLB and the moral purposes of education as embodied in this act. Whose job will it be in answering the questions and challenges posed by the critics? The job goes to the executive department because they execute the laws passed by Congress. Congress is now in the position to make its excuses. However, the Department of Education can focus on gathering the pros and cons and submit them to Congress for evaluation. More than ten years have elapsed since the first implementation of NCLB and it is time we collect the good and bad sides of the law.

The primary purpose of NCLB is to provide high-quality education for all regardless of background and status in life (No Child Left Behind, n.d., p. 1), but this purpose is a broad one that needs an effective implementation. To say that the act has been successful in obtaining the gains set forth by Congress and the executive department is too premature. The year 2014 is a target date for schools and districts to improve their AYP but the year has yet to start and there might be some gains we expect to see. Reports on NCLB gains have to be submitted and analyzed. Researchers should conduct more surveys and studies and incorporate these in a paper to be submitted to Congress for evaluation. Politicians, educators, and the general public can judge the outcome of NCLB through the performance of the youth and the economy as a whole. It will not be long that we see these outcomes in our midst.

References

Federal education budget project: No Child Left Behind – an overview. (2013). Web.

Henry, M. (2004). No Child Left Behind – educational malpractice litigation for the 21st century. California Law Review, 92(4), 1117-1171. Web.

Hollingsworth, S. & Gallego, M. (2007). Editorial team’s introduction: Special issue on No Child Left Behind. American Educational Research Journal, 44(3), 454-459. Web.

Hopmann, S. (2008). No child, no school, no state left behind: Schooling in the age of accountability. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40(4), 417-456. Web.

Hursh, D. (2007). Assessing No Child Left Behind and the rise of neoliberal education policies. American Educational Research Journal, 44(3), 493-518. Web.

Li, L. (n.d.). Improving teacher quality in the United States. Web.

No Child Left Behind. (n.d.). Web.

Appendix

Appendix 1

NCLB gains for 4th and 8th graders in reading and math.
NCLB gains for 4th and 8th graders in reading and math.
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